The drugs really do work. Without them, I wouldn’t be here today

Let’s talk about depression. Last week, The Lancet published research into the effectiveness of antidepressants. The study was vast, taking in 21 drugs prescribed to nearly 120,000 patients in more than 500 trials across almost four decades. And the results? Every single medication was more effective than a placebo in treating adults with major depressive…

Justin Trudeau takes his Captain Snowflake act to India

If your week was less than fun, spare a thought for Justin Trudeau. The Canadian Prime Minister’s seven-day visit to India went down like an undercooked biriyani on the subcontinent. When he landed in New Delhi last Saturday, Trudeau was greeted on the tarmac, not by the Prime Minister or Foreign Minister but by the…

Telt! The day Mr Nice Guy snapped at Nicola

Remember that terribly progressive teacher at school? The one who insisted you call him by his first name and worried that homework might be a human rights violation?  Ken Macintosh is the trendy teacher of the Scottish Parliament. As Presiding Officer, it’s his job to keep order but he just can’t bring himself to stamp…

Bring back military service? We would need to bring back the military first

‘The British are good at paying taxes but detest drill,’ Winston Churchill once observed. ‘The French do not mind drill but avoid taxes.’ France’s president Emmanuel Macron has reminded us of the wisdom of Winnie by announcing the return of compulsory national service, 17 years after it was abolished. Les jeunes français will be obliged…

Did Jeremy Corbyn bring down the Iron Curtain?

There are two competing theories about how the Soviet Union collapsed. One holds that Ronald Reagan’s moral leadership against communism and bolstering of US defences weakened Moscow’s will and buried them economically. The other contends that Mikhail Gorbachev’s domestic reforms and wise diplomacy brought down the Iron Curtain in spite of the cowboy in the…

The SNP should reinvent itself

The SNP, you’ll be distressed to learn, are having a time of it. The party is embroiled in a deputy leadership contest that could have been designed by their worst enemies. Angus Robertson, who lost his Moray seat last June, has resigned, depriving the party of one of its most formidable and respectable advocates. His…

A rapier wit adds to the gaiety of politics but it takes more to be a leader

Jacob Rees-Mogg is everywhere at the moment. He’s on TV so much I fear the producers of Question Time have lost Nigel Farage’s mobile number. Videos of his parliamentary speeches attract hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube. He even gained the respect of rivals after being jostled by far-Left protesters at a university event…

Will the SNP ever be able to govern?

There is a gloom out there. A creeping suspicion, beneath the surface in some places, voiced openly in others, that something has gone wrong. Where it can be heard it is done so in bars and coffee shops and offices and even where it isn’t you can feel it. Those who seldom discuss current affairs…

Holyrood’s latest cop drama? It’s the poor man’s Netflix

If the Police Scotland saga were a Netflix series, it would now be in its tenth season and even diehard fans would be wondering if it was time to call it a day.  The current storyline has seen Chief Constable Phil Gormley accused of multiple misconduct, go on special leave, be told he was coming…

The paranoid style in British politics

Is the Daily Telegraph front page anti-Semitic? Not intentionally, I don’t think. It is, however, an astonishingly ill-judged rocket-fuelling of a story that belongs, at best, six or seven pages in. In its rush to damn the hated Remainers, the paper has oversold a middling story, splashed in primary colours a tale better told in pastels,…

The Ten… women who were pioneers in British politics

Britain is marking the centenary of votes for women. The 1918 Representation of the People Act extended the franchise to men over 21 and women over 30. This has prompted a renewed interest in the Suffragettes who fought, and in some cases died, to secure electoral rights for women. The first thing to note is…

Scotland is paying a heavy price for the SNP’s independence obsession

Say what you like about Nicola Sturgeon but she’s consistent. Every autumn, when she sets out her programme for government, the First Minister makes the same pledge: ‘We will make it a priority to improve the educational outcomes of pupils in the most disadvantaged areas of Scotland… a targeted approach to attainment that will help…

Sinister backdrop to the War of the Luvvies

The relationship between art and politics has never been an easy one. The artist is a cultural trouble-maker by profession, illuminating the human condition in ways that upset received wisdom and inspire angst in the powerful. This is why the Church dedicated such effort to censorship and tyrants seldom brook the dissent of novelists and…

Jeremy Corbyn and his followers are in denial about his past

There are three people in every conversation about Jeremy Corbyn’s grim past. I have noticed this before but renewed interest in his paid work for Iran’s Press TV confirmed it for me. First, there’s the anti-Corbynista, who points out one outrage or another. This might be Corbyn’s ‘friends’ in Hamas and Hezbollah, his inviting a hate preacher to tea on the…

Handed a star role, he wilted like yesterday’s organic lettuce

Patrick Harvie is the eternal bit player of Scottish politics but finally he got a starring role. First Minister’s Questions was all about Nicola’s Little Helper. Earlier this week, he came to the rescue when the SNP’s Budget needed extra votes to pass its first reading.  Pliable Patrick, the nodding cucumber, is a man of…